Introduction: Recent statistics indicate that a person is more likely to be a victim of a car crash than a terrorist attack. The growing number of cases with rental car accidents and increasing safety and regulatory risks posed to rental car companies has led to many “travel management companies” that offer these vehicles installing telemetric systems that record and in some cases, modify driver vehicle behavior .The growth of the rental car market has led to increasing demand for automobiles capable of providing safety and comfort at a reasonable price but there is a risk considered from the side of the rental car company as well. The growing cases of customers revving the car, applying excessive pressure on the breaks and overdoing the acceleration are signs of how customers generally do not treat rental cars ideally as they are meant to be treated. This shortens the effective lifespan and ruins the performance of the car. To safeguard against these measures, rental car companies have installed security systems meant to track the driver activity as well as their treatment to the vehicle. These systems range from microphones to full fledged micro surveillance systems that are setup in the car. Although this seems like a rational procedure. There is an emerging possibility that could be highly detrimental to the goodwill of any rental car company if found to be true as per Market Research Reports for Car Rental
News: There have been several articles and news alerts complaining about the security systems being installed in the vehicles. The customers using rental cars have now been made aware that the recording system can threaten their privacy and security. The Telegraph news story implicating Hertz to be spying on their customers using the new camera and microphone installations into their Hertz Neverlost 6 had a very public repercussion with Hertz customers posting on their social media that they would never use a Hertz rental car again and neither should anyone else. “This kind of disregard for privacy should not be tolerated” said one Hertz customer. In response to the camera systems, Hertz spokeswoman Evelin Imperatrice announced: “The cameras in NeverLost 6 units aren’t functional and cannot be turned on under any circumstances, by either renters or by the company. When we chose the new hardware device for NeverLost 6, we included a camera option in the event that a video conferencing function might be a useful, future application that renters would welcome. Aside from the very public incident with the Neverlost 6 Systems that was faced by Hertz, Hertz , along with several other rental car companies have been officially put in the eye of regulatory authority with the Better Business Bureau being asked to investigate a number of car rental companies for improper business operations and measures against personal security and privacy. The growing threat with the implementation of technology into the rental cars would lead to a much worse condition with smart rental cars which are capable of tracking everything possible within a persons trip. Newer cars that connect to the Internet can collect vast amounts of data about drivers, such as where you went to dinner, if you broke the speed limit or if your seat belt was buckled. When you buy a car, you cede data control to your car company. Most automakers say they won’t sell information without an owner’s consent. But they’re not legally required to inform you if they do.
Opportunity: Car data is about to become big business. A new report from consulting firm McKinsey says automotive data could be worth USD 450 billion to USD 750 billion globally by 2030. Automakers, insurers, high-tech firms, city planners and advertisers are among those who could use data to refine services. Drivers could share data in exchange for navigation systems, or they could pay extra for perks like a parking spot finder. There is an opportunity for a regulation system that works in favor of both parties where the condition of the car is monitored and the regulatory requirements of usage of the car in terms of the rental company policy is in check while not broaching a customers privacy. The creation of a centralized system that can be fit into any car, manufacturer or rental would allow for a common technology that is accepted by consumers and the industry as well.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications